Me and Baby Brother: Emerson, Marathons and Happiness

The only person you are destined to become, is the person you decide to be.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

This sounds really profound in its simplicity and then you think about and want to argue. But wait, there’s more, you just don’t “decide,” you make a commitment. The person you decide to be is an ongoing choice. Seriously; there is a difference between expressing “I want to, I wish I could, I’d like to” versus “I am committed to…” For five years, I’ve said I want to do a handstand. Yet, on a daily, ongoing basis, there is no evidence of my commitment to this goal. Sure, I’ll kick up against a wall and hold it 3 seconds, but that’s like sprinting from my office to the kitchen once a day and expecting to have the endurance and stamina to run a marathon.

My brother called me on Thanksgiving day. Throughout our 90 minute conversation, I realized, he makes an ongoing choice to be happy. It’s a commitment in what he says, what he does, what he watches and what he listens to. He chooses to be happy. When we were kids, on the rare occasion when he was sent to his room in “punishment,” my mom would get this frustrated look and my dad would be close to tears trying to stifle his laughter. My brother would be in his room cheerfully belting out a song. My mom would finally break into laughter too; she had a kid who could make himself content.

This week, do inventory. Consider, your commitment to who you want to be. Do you make choices on a daily basis that support the person you want to be? Ask yourself, are you doing little sprints with dreams of the marathon, or are you all in? What’s your game plan? Please note, anything involving the purchase of a lottery ticket does not count. To my brother, who sings it’s a Wonderful World and one of his favorite movies is It’s a Wonderful Life,…wonderful, wonderful, wonderful;  have a happy birthday, don’t go dipping any watches into punch bowls.

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